Red Sox’ Sale set to face former team

BOSTON — Chris Sale, in his second year with the Red Sox, carries a 22-11 record with Boston into Friday night’s start against his old team, the Chicago White Sox.

But while Sale has a .667 winning percentage with his new team, he has lost his last two starts and is in danger of his first three-game losing streak in a Red Sox uniform when he faces Dylan Covey in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

In addition to trying to end his own losing streak, the skinny left-hander will also try to get Boston back in the win column as the Red Sox failed to finish off a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers by losing 7-2 on Thursday night.

In his last two starts, Sale, who had a 2.02 ERA in his first eight starts of the season, has pitched 10 1/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and 10 runs while striking out 14 in a pair of roller coaster-type performances. He is now 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA.

“I’ve had two bad outings and they just happen to be back-to-back and the most recent ones,” Sale said after losing at Houston in his last start. “I’ll talk to (pitching coach Dana 1/8LeVangie) a little bit after the game tonight, and I’ll go see what we’ve got tomorrow and get back on the drawing board and see where we’re at and go from there.”

With Steven Wright returning to the rotation Tuesday night and Jalen Beeks making his major league debut with a loss Thursday night, the rest of the Boston rotation picked up an extra day off. It’s the latest sign the Red Sox are trying to preserve some energy for their starters — notably Sale, who has a history of tiring in the second halves of seasons.

The loss Thursday night lowered the Red Sox’ lead over the idle New York Yankees to one-half game. Boston now faces the White Sox and Orioles (in Baltimore), two teams that are a combined 38-82.

The White Sox (20-40) are coming off a split of a four-game series at Minnesota, the start of a stretch of 21 games in 20 days.

“We’re going to play a lot of games,” manager Rick Renteria said earlier this week. “Every game’s a test. … It’s the test they’ve been studying for their whole lives. They’ll have some good results, some bad results.”

Covey, who will make his fifth start, is 1-1 with a 2.82 ERA and is coming off yielding only one run — unearned — and striking out seven in five innings his last time out. He is 1-8 in his young career.

The series marks a return of one-time Boston prospect Yoan Moncada to Fenway Park — and he is struggling against left-handers as Boston is set to start Sale and fellow lefty David Price in the first two games of the series.

Through Thursday, Moncada was hitting .173 with no homers in 52 at-bats against lefties, hitting all eight of his home runs against right-handed pitching.

“There’s still some work to be done,” Renteria said. “He’ll continue to adjust. The looks when he comes into the dugout (after facing lefties) are more of a curiosity look, in terms of what he might do the next time. He’s a work in progress.”

Moncada was 5-for-14 in four games against the Red Sox last season.

Avisail Garcia is the only current White Sox player with more than three at-bats against Sale and he’s 3-for-6 against his former teammate. But he’s on the disabled list. The current Chicago roster is a combined 8-for-25 with 11 strikeouts against Sale, who beat his old team with five shaky innings in a game at US Cellular Field last season.

The Red Sox optioned Beeks, who lost Thursday by allowing six runs in four innings (five in the first) right back to Pawtucket and will make an addition to the roster Friday.